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The Knot of My Tongue: Poems and Prose by Zehra Naqvi with guests

April 12 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT


On Friday, April 12th at 6pm, join Massy Arts, Massy Books and Penguin Random House Canada for the launch of The Knot of My Tongue: Poems and Prose by Zehra Naqvi, joined by Rahat Kurd and Sarah Munawar.

For readers of Fatimah Asghar’s If They Come for Us, here is a searing, multidimensional debut about the search for language and self, which is life itself.

This project has been made possible by the Government of Canada. Ce projet a été rendu possible grâce au gouvernement du Canada.

Venue & Accessibility

The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver. We are located in the former MING WO building, which is still the name on the facade of our building.

Registration is free and required for entrance. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/the-knot-of-my-tongue-poems-and-prose-by-zehra-naqvi-with-guests-tickets-851113331887?aff=oddtdtcreator

The gallery is wheelchair accessible and a gender-neutral washroom is on-site.

Please refrain from wearing scents or heavy perfumes.

For more on accessibility including parking, seating, venue measurements and floor plan, and how to request ASL interpretation please visit: massyarts.com/accessibility

Covid Protocols: Masks keep our community safe and are mandatory (N95 masks are recommended as they offer the best protection). We ask if you are showing symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.

About the book:

The Knot of My Tongue (Penguin Random House, 2024)

I knew it was time to build what could carry, what could find the high point to name what I knew to be the world and carry it with me

At the heart of The Knot of My Tongue is Zehra Naqvi’s storying of language itself and the self-re- visioning that follows devastating personal rupture. Employing a variety of poetic forms, these intimate, searching poems address generations, continents, and dominions
to examine loss of expression in the aftermath of collisions with
powerful forces, ranging from histories to intimacies.

Naqvi follows a cast of characters from personal memory, family history, and Quranic traditions, at instances where they have either been rendered silent or found ways to attempt the inexpressible— a father struggling to speak as an immigrant in Canada; a grandmother as she loses her children and her home after the 1947 Partition; the Islamic story of Hajar, abandoned in the desert without water; the myth of Philomela who finds language even after her husband cuts off her tongue.

Brilliantly blending the personal and the communal, memory and myth, theology and tradition, the poems in this collection train our attention—slow and immediate, public and private—on our primal ability to communicate, recover, and survive. This example is striking for the power of its speaking through loss and a singular, radiant vision.

About the author

ZEHRA NAQVI is a Karachi-born writer raised on unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC). She is a winner of the 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers awarded by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Her poem “forgetting urdu” was the winner of Room’s 2016 Poetry Contest. Zehra has written and edited for various publications internationally. She holds two MSc degrees in migration studies and social anthropology from Oxford University where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. The Knot of My Tongue is her debut poetry collection.

About the guests

Rahat Kurd is the daughter & granddaughter of Kashmiri women. She has studied Urdu and Persian poetry for several years. Her work includes COSMOPHILIA (Talonbooks 2015), a collection of poems, and THE CITY THAT IS LEAVING FOREVER: KASHMIRI LETTERS (Talonbooks 2021), a hybrid book of correspondence and poetics co-authored with the Kashmiri poet Sumayya Syed.

Dr. Sarah Munawar (She/Her) is a Pakistani-Muslim and settler living in relationship with and sustained by the occupied and unceded land and waters of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (TsleilWaututh) Nations. She is a political science instructor at Columbia College, a mother and a scholar of care ethics, disability justice and health equity. In her writing, she articulates the right of Muslims to think about care islamically, and offers a vision of disability justice and collective accessibility that draws upon various lineages of anti-oppressive Islamic knowledge.


23 East Pender Street
Vancouver, BC Canada
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